Previous Index Next

 

RED RIVER REBELLION, 1869-70   259

 

of the worthy trader's vegetable garden, after a monotonous diet of salt pork. Captain Huyshe, a member of Wolseley's staff, feelingly records their gratitude to Mc-Kenzie for "allowing us to have the run of our teeth in his garden, so that during our stay of five days we revelled in green peas, young potatoes, and cabbages."

Some time before there had been a formal pow-wow with Crooked Neck, principal chief of the Chippewas, when captivating presents of red shirts, coats, and caps had been offered him on behalf of the Government. Crooked Neck, however, suspected an ulterior motive, and indignantly refused the gift. "Am I a pike," he cried, "to be caught with such a bait as that? Shall I sell my land for a bit of red cloth? We will let the pale-faces pass through our country, but we will sell them none of our land, nor have any of them to live amongst us." At a later conference with Wolseley himself, the wily old chief bethought him that he might spoil the Egyptians, and demanded an annual subsidy of ten dollars a head for the right of way through Chippewa territory and the use of wood and water. But the Egyptians being hard-hearted, Crooked Neck compromised on a small present of flour and pork.

All necessary repairs having been made to the boats and equipment, the expedition started, down Rainy river early in August. Never before had that picturesque stream carried such an imposing fleet, as brigade after brigade swept down its current. Many an Indian along its banks must have repeated the sage remark of the old chief at Prince Arthur's Landing, who had watched the endless stream of soldiers landing from the Clematis: "What a lot of white people there must be in the world!"

Wolseley led the way in his bark canoe manned by expert Iroquois. They ran the Manitou and the Long Sault, and, drifting down stream all night to save time, reached the desolate little trading post known as Hungry Hall, near the mouth of the river, in time for breakfast. Here letters reached the commander from Rat Portage an-


Previous Index Next